Deba Knives

Debas are perhaps the most common knives in Japanese kitchens, and for good reason. The only real problem with them is left handers may have a difficult time finding a left handed version.

Mioroshi Deba
Mioroshi Deba

This is my general prep knife, the knife I use 10 times more than all the other knives I have put together. I cannot imagine a better knife, except one of these about an inch longer (most of them are). It is thicker and sturdier than a Chef's Knife but at least as sharp. The Mioroshi is longer, thinner, lower in profile and more gently curved than the regular Deba, which is more a meat cutting knife. As with other Debas, this knife is beveled on one side and flat on the other. Left handed versions are available but may be hard to find.

This particular knife has been in daily use for around 40 years, and has been razor sharp every day of its life, and has never seen a knife sharpener (I don't even own one). As you can see from the photo, it is made from 440A stainless, the first really knife grade alloy. It has since been replaced by even harder grades. The cutting edge is 6-1/2 inches and the back edge of the knife is 0.15 inch thick (3.8 mm). Total length is 11-7/8 inches. The blade tang had to be reseated in the handle a year or so ago, for which Gorilla Glue is the ideal adhesive.

I have no idea how much I paid (it was on sale at a department store) or how that would translate to 2009 dollars, but similar knives are currently available from about US $78.00 on up to a few hundred.

The wide back edge makes it possible to press down on the back of the blade without hurting yourself, and it's sharp corners are also useful in many ways, but particularly for scaling fish.

The weight and rigidity of the blade also has advantages, particularly for crushing garlic cloves flat with the side of the knife before slicing and chopping them, for whacking nuts to crack them, for pitting natural cure green olives, and again for scaling fish. The pointed tip is sufficiently pointy for most work and the shortness and rigidity of the blade compared to a typical chef's knife makes it much easier to work with the tip.

Deba (Standard)

The standard Deba is more a meat cutting and boning knife than a general prep knife. Compared to the Mioroshi it is shorter, thicker, heavier and higher in profile. It is heavy enough and sturdy enough to chop through small bones.

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